HOW DO I STORE MY VANILLA PODS?
Follow these guidelines to ensure that your vanilla pods remain in excellent condition for a very long time.
Our vanilla beans are usually shipped in a vacuum sealed package. You are likely to see a brown liquid throughout the vacuum sealed package, do not be alarmed as this liquid is simply oil squeezed from the pods during the vacuum sealing process. We recommend not opening the vacuum sealed package until usage.
The best way to store your vanilla pods once you have unpacked them from the vacuum packaging would be to wrap them in either wax paper or plastic wrap and store in an airtight glass or Tupperware container. Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the container to prevent the vanilla beans from drying out.
Your airtight container should be kept in a cool dark place away from any direct sunlight such as your pantry or kitchen cupboard. Never keep your vanilla pods in the fridge as this will dry out your beans.
Vanilla beans should be aired regularly. Simply remove the beans from the container every few weeks to circulate the air for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Vanilla beans that have been stored correctly in ideal conditions can last upwards of two years. We recommend purchasing quantities that you intend on using within 6-8 months.
HOW DO I USE MY VANILLA BEANS?
Vanilla pods are commonly used in cooking and baking. A whole vanilla pod is vanilla in it’s most pure and unrefined state. It is relatively easy to use - simply grab your favourite cutting board and sharp knife as they can have a tough skin. Simply slice along the length of the pod, trying to only slice halfway through. Flare the two sides of your bean open and use your knife to scrape out the seeds.
CAN I DO ANYTHING WITH MY USED POD?
After the seeds have been scraped out, the remaining used vanilla pod still has a lot to offer in terms of aroma and flavour. Here are just a few ways you can use the left over pod:
- Improve store bought Extract: Adding the left over vanilla pod to your existing bottle of extract will boost the colour, flavour and aroma.
- Vanilla Sugar: Add to your sugar bowl to create a bit of extra flavour.
- Vanilla Liquor: Add to your favourite bottle of liquor to make cocktails a little extra special.
- Vanilla Salt: Pod can be cut or ground up and added to rock salt to impart an extremely unique flavour to your savoury dishes.
- Vanilla Syrup: Add to your syrup bottle.
- Make (or add to Potpourri
WHAT MAKES A VANILLA BEAN 'GOURMET' OR 'GRADE A' QUALITY?
Quality is determined by moisture content, bean length and condition. Moisture Content is one of the most important aspects of high-grade vanilla. Grade A (Gourmet Grade) vanilla beans are extremely moist. Oils should be visible on the outside of the vanilla pod and the pod should leave a residue on your fingers after touching. Vanilla pods with high moisture content will be soft to touch and highly flexible when bent. It is common to see the oils extend from the vanilla bean when packaged in vacuum sealed bags.
Length is also an indication of quality. Grade A vanilla pods are typically over 14 cm, in length. Vanilla pods that appear to be stiff, split, or cracked are considered Grade B or Grade C.
WHAT IS THE WHITE SUBSTANCE I SEE ON THE TIPS OR SURFACE OF MY VANILLA BEAN?
Sometimes due to temperature and humidity conditions, or how the beans are stored, the vanillin in the vanilla pod will actually crystalize out to the surface of the pod. This is a good thing and is associated with a high quality vanilla pod.
If the white substance appears more “fuzzy” or “spongy” this could be mould. In a small number of cases, vanilla pods do develop mould, the most common cause is due to excess moisture on the vanilla pod. Luckily the mould is unlikely to affect the quality of the vanilla beans and this can be easily wiped off with a soft cloth dabbed in Ethyl alcohol and laid out to dry, this will kill any spores and will not affect the quality of the vanilla. Ethyl alcohol is sometimes hard to get, so vodka could be used as a substitute.
All of our vanilla pods are subject to quality control and are always visually inspected prior to dispatch. In the unlikely event that your vanilla pods do contain mould or develop mould within a short amount of time after receiving them, please contact us and we will be happily replace them or arrange a refund.